Monday, December 31, 2012

I Still Remember.

Daddy at my Uncle's home in Madeira.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when my life changed forever.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when my brother called to tell me that my father was missing.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that my father was gone.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that I wouldn't ever see his smiling face, hear his infectious laugh, hold his caring hands and receive anymore robust hugs.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that I was so blessed to have spent time with my father in March 2001 on a family vacation.  Who knew it would be the last.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew what it felt like to have a part of your heart taken away, never to be replaced.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I learned that you never let the sun set on your anger, that you love with abandon and that you never miss an opportunity to let someone know how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

Daddy, you are missed, every day.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Vicodin Filled Christmas.

Doesn't my foot look fabulous
Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I had surgery on my right foot.  The alien that was growing out of my ankle has now been removed.

Bear made a wonderful Christmas dinner, ham, gratin potatoes, sweet butternut and corn casserole.  Trevor contributed with much bitching. I gave orders from my comfy chair. I am very thankful for Vicodin and trying to stay ahead of the pain.

Hope your Christmas was filled with great food, family and wine!  I miss wine.  Wish I could sip on a glass, but Vicodin wins.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So Many Times We Forget to Say Thank You.

My favorite picture of T and Mr. Harris at graduation 2010
I was going through my pictures the other day and came across this picture of T. and his biology teacher, Mr. Harris.  This photo was taken at T's high school graduation.  I love this photograph as it epitomizes the relationship that Mr. Harris had, not only with T, but with all his students.  I never did get to say thank you.

So here it is.

Dear Mr. Harris,

Thank you for always believing in T and for never accepting work from him that you felt was inferior to what he was capable of doing.

Thank you for challenging T to think outside the conforming box, to question, research and question again.

Thank you for never giving up on T when he had those bad days when he didn't complete an assignment.  You held him accountable with his grade, but you showed compassion and kindness.

Thank you for respecting T as a human being and not blowing off his questions with condescending criticism.

Thank you for making Biology fun.  The classroom made up as a cell with masking tape was brilliant.

Thank you for your geekiness and nerdiness that helped T and so many other students deal with being stereotypes.    

Thank you for being firm, but gentle when lines were crossed.

Thank you for keeping me, the helicopter mom, informed of T's progress weekly and not surprise me with any "He did what?" at parent teacher conference. 

Thank you for dipping into your own pocket on more than one occasion to make science fun. 

Thank you for touching so many students lives in a positive way, it is no surprise you were regarded as the coolest teacher.

Thank you for allowing T to fail at certain things, to make him try harder, to make him understand that nothing comes easy or is free.

Thank you for making a difference.

With warmest regards,
T's Mom

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seven Word Wine Review

Me being creative

Vim, of, started Seven Word Wine Review.  (click on link to read the story).  I had read various 7 word reviews on Twitter and loved them.  What a fun, unpretentious way to rate wine.  I contacted Vim about started a chapter in Oregon.  Our first event had 8 people and was held at our home.  I asked everyone to bring a bottle of wine and a dish to share with all.  This past Saturday evening we had our 3rd event.  16 people attended. The requirement for this evening was to bring a French Wine under $25.00 and a dish paired with your wine. The challenge was that it was a blind tasting.  I must admit we all found this to be incredibly challenging as we didn't know the varietel which almost always leads you to your if it's Pinot Noir it must be berries, if it's Chardonnay it must be buttery oak.

Wine is poured, swirled, sniffed and sipped.  For some of us (aka me) this has to be done more that once.  We then throw out words, fruity, grass, lemons and I sit at my laptop and type furiously to catch all the phrases.  From those phrases we all come up with a sentence. This past Saturday we were very creative, so creative that a person on Twitter could not understand what the we were saying about the wine. Maybe our reviews were too specific to our group?

The first wine we had was Vin de Sauvoie Apremont.  On the nose there was lots of tropical fruit and sweetness, but when we tasted the wine it fell flat.  Not a hint of sweetness, more puckerish and had a rusty nail undertone.  This is the 7 word wine review we came up with.

“Bipolar Hawaiian in need of tetanus shot”

Next wine was Chateau La Freynelle 2009 Bordeaux.  On the nose it smelled like walking through a candy shop filled with sherbet, cotton candy and sweetness, but alas on the taste it was very disappointing not a hint of the candy heaven we had on the nose.  So this is what we came up with.

“Willy Wonka’s factory for a diabetic oompahloompah”

Yes, our reviews are not conventional, we are not creating reviews to sell the wine, but creating reviews to have fun and learn.  At this event we had three new people who were intimidated by wine.  They feared that their lack of wine knowledge would show.  By having everyone say out loud what they smelled or tasted gave them confidence in participating.

Now this is where it got totally awesome.  We poured Des Hauts Chassis Crozes Hermitage 2010.  One of the newbies looked at me and quietly said, "I smell wet newspaper and canned tuna."  She was right, many of us smelled this and we determined that the bottle was corked. She thought she was being silly and would never have said anything at a restaurant as her confidence in wine was lacking. At the end of the evening she thanked me for encouraging her to come as she had learned that wine tasting is not intimidating, but loads of fun and she learned so much.

So while our reviews may not be conventional these once a month get togethers are educational and fun and I think that this is what Vim intended seven word wine review to be.

*if you would like to join the 7 word wine review revolution, go to and let Vim know that you want to play along too. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I am my father's daughter.

Me and my daddy. 
In my father's will he left a coin to T.  Only 215 of these coins had been minted.  Last week I took the coin to a dealer to have appraised.

The conversation went as follows:

Dealer: (checking internet) I see only a few were minted. Very interesting coin.  How much do you want for it?

Me:  I don't want to sell it, I need to know a value for insurance purposes.

Dealer: (takes coin and throws it back on the counter towards me) This is a re-strike.

Me: How can you tell?

Dealer:  The 8 is larger than the 9

Me: Could I use your magnifying glass to see? (hands me glass) I don't see any difference.

Dealer: It's not a re-strike, it's a re-pour.  This coin has no value.

I left the coin dealer and as I drove home I wept.  I wept for my father who was once again duped by someone he helped financially.  I wept for my father who would give the shirt off his back to those that needed it.  I wept for my father and for how many times people continued to abuse his kindness and love.

Something made me stop at another coin dealer in town.  I took it in and it so happened that there was a coin dealer from New York who was very familiar with South African coins.  I asked him to look at the coin as I was told that it was a re-strike or re-pour.  He looked at the coin and he told me that is was genuine.  It was the real thing. His advice was to send it into NGC for appraisal.

The relief that washed over me was immense.  Finally someone had not duped my father.  When my father was murdered and I was going through all of his things I came across a wooden box.  I opened the wooden box and was in disbelief.  There were hundreds of pieces of papers of IOU's that people had signed of money they 'borrowed' from my father.  There were promises of paybacks and dates.  The amounts were incredulous. To this day not one of those people have come forward to repay the loan. We as a family made a decision not to approach those people.  That is not what my father would have wanted.

I am my father's daughter.  I give of my heart too freely.  I love too deeply and I trust blindly. I am the first to be there to pick someone up when they have fallen.  I am the first to be someone's cheerleader when their depression engulfs them.  I am the one that gently pushes and helps people towards their dreams and goals.

My mother reminded me today that I will always be who I am.  That I will always be my father's daughter.

And that is something to be proud of.